Guilty Plea Offers Relief to Defrauded Couples
BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CN) - A man who shuttered his popular wedding venue and left dozens of clients in the lurch has pleaded guilty to tax-fraud charges and must return $1 million to the couples.
Jason Stevens, owner of the popular ReBar restaurant in the trendy neighborhood of DUMBO, faces up to 10 years in prison when sentenced July 21.
Following his guilty plea on Thursday, a judge required Stevens, 41, to pay more than $1 million, which will be split among the estimated 100 couples who were left without a wedding venue when ReBar suddenly closed without notice in May.
Along with stiffing intended couples' out of a venue after taking their money, prosecutors also said Stevens got away with $200,000 in unpaid sales tax between 2009 and 2012.
Former ReBar clients who want their money back now have 120 days to provide the court with evidence that shows they paid ReBar for use of the space.
Stevens was arrested in May on charges of tax fraud and grand larceny.
The first civil suit over ReBar's closure was filed on May 20.